I decided to quiz my students before beginning the lesson… Why do we celebrate Thanksgiving? I wasn’t surprised that neither of them had heard of Christopher Columbus. However, I received several unexpected answers as follows: “Thanksgiving is something you do when someone gives you presents from Christmas!” “Thanksgiving is a holiday that you bake turkey and have a party with your family.” “Thanksgiving is when you grill turkey and chicken! Yum!!!” and “Thanksgiving is my special Valentine’s Day!”
Of course, after the lesson had been taught, I couldn’t wait to quiz them again. The answers were much different, but still funny nonetheless. Mostly, the students seemed to focus on the jobs that the young girls and boys had on the ships that headed to America. They exclaimed with wrinkled noses, “Them had to clean up puke from the sick people!” “The girls had to empty the chamber pot!” “The boys had to mop the deck with sea water and fix the holes in the ship!” “The girls had to sew and help cook.” “The boys got to read maps.” “The boys got tar on their hands from the ropes.” “The only doctor got thrown overboard cause he died.” “It was stinky and dark on the ship and there was a bad storm.” “Everybody wore hats…even the women!” “A woman had a baby on the ship and named him Oceanus!”
Today, I began telling the students that there were no houses, Wal-marts, restaurants, schools, or even cars here when the pilgrims arrived. I explained to them that only the Native Americans were here. A little girl couldn’t contain herself. She squealed, “Mrs. Bargo, even you weren’t here yet?” I said , “No… no, I didn’t get here until a few years ago!” Thanksgiving hasn’t arrived, but I believe they will know all about it after our completed study!